San Diego River Gorge

Springtime is waterfall time in San Diego County. Creeks are flowing and rivers are swollen after winter rains. The trees in the canyons are lush with fresh green, and so are the chaparral slopes and hillsides. The most beautiful time of the year in Southern California for sure.

I needed to get out and see some of this beautiful green, and while Cedar Creek Falls is incredibly popular, it couldn’t possibly be too busy on a Thursday late in the afternoon… I thought. Also, to avoid the crowds I added the extra driving time and drove to the Saddleback trailhead (the Ramona trailhead on Thornbush Road is far more popular), to hike down on Eagle Peak Road. This is an old dirt road, now partly overgrown into a single track hiking trail that first contours Ritchie Canyon on the southern side, then the San Diego River Gorge.

When I reached the trailhead there were seven cars parked there. Seven, at this relatively remote trailhead, on a Thursday afternoon around 15.30. On my way down, a couple of people on their way back up passed me (including the mandatory family that was ill-equipped for this hike, with two kids, and all in flip-flops or light sneakers) but the falls were still pretty busy with young folks – did I accidentally hit the week of spring break?

I wasn’t in the mood for people and/or working my way around them with the camera. So I just made a mandatory “documentary” photo of the falls, a bit further away from “the action”, and then lazily began to hike back up, waiting for the sun to get lower. That was pretty rewarding – San Diego River Canyon is quite beautiful. Mildred Falls was only trickling (nothing compared to the flow of 2011) and a rather depressing sight though. On my way back from the trailhead, I still made a brief stop there, as the sun was just about to set (last photo).

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